East Asia: The Modern Transformation by John K. Fairbank, Edwin O. Reischauer, Albert M. Craig

East Asia: The Modern Transformation

John K. Fairbank, Edwin O. Reischauer, Albert M. Craig
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A History of East Asian Civilization, Volumes One and Two:\n\n(1) East Asia: The Great Tradition (1960).\n(2) East Asia: The Modern Transformation (1965).*** \n(3) East Asia: Tradition and Transformation (1978). A condensation, rather then a continuation, of (1) and (2).\n\nThe SECOND volume of the series, East Asia: The Modern Transformation, was designed as a continuation of East Asia: The Great Tradition, but they have a chronological overlap of several centuries: the first volume traces TRADITIONAL China through the Ch'ing dynasty and Japan through the Tokugawa period, while the second volume sees the MODERNIZING phase as beginning with "The Coming of the Europeans" to East Asia as early as the 16th century. This is a good strategy for presentation, but we should be careful not to read "modernizing" as being equivalent to "civilizing." The countries of China, Korea, Japan, and Southeast Asia had as much claim to being civilized as the intruding Westerners. . . Readers interested in this period of cross-fertilization should also check out The Western World and Japan: A Study in the Interaction of European and Asiatic Cultures (1965) by the preeminent Western scholar of Japanese history, George Sansom (book signed as G.B. Sansom; 1883-1965), pp. xvi, 504, xi (index). Although the focus of the work is on Japan, Part One (pp. 1-164) discusses the larger context of "Europe and Asia," especially China.\n\n\nWhile all three books were originally designed with the classroom in mind, I am gradually of the opinion that they are more appropriate for an older class of readers who have had time to develop a taste for history. During the second decade of our lives we tend to be too distracted by SAT scores, term papers, and hormones to see history as much more than the boring memorization of names-and-dates. So when should we start learning about history? Probably during our first decade as children, when we tend to be interested in just about everything.\nThen, with a little luck, our interest may survive the turbulent second decade. . . . \n\nBe all that as it may, East Asia: The Modern Transformation (xvi, 955 pp.-- a full 216 pages more than volume one), is also packed with monochrome illustrations, drawings, maps and charts. The text is divided into 10 chapters, including one each on "East and Southeast Asia in the Age of Imperialism," "Colonialism and Nationalism in the Peripheral Areas," and "East Asia in the New International World." It also includes, as did volume one, a Pronunciation Guide of Chinese [Wade-Giles], Korean and Japanese. This is followed by 8 pages of Bibliography (omitted in East Asia: Tradition and Transformation, probably because of the rapidly expanding number of books and articles in recent decades), and a detailed index (pp. 899-955). \n\nAnother great bargain! Take a look at the used books and collectibles.